Petira of Rav Elyashiv צ״ל

It was a sad day, indeed, when I read about this event. I had two occasions where I turned to him to answer Shaylos that I had. Both times my letters were passed on by Rav Yossi Efrati, who is a tremendous and fiery Gaon, and who delivered a Thursday night Halacha Shiur to ‘Chutznikim’ at Kerem B’Yavneh. In both cases, I received detailed answers with sources.

This occurred well before he became the leader of Lithuanian style Charedim in Israel.

There is no Rabbi or human being who has not had their share of controversy. Rav Elyashiv famously split from the Rabbanut as a senior Dayan, when he vigorously opposed Rav Goren’s solution to the Langer case. Ironically, it would seem that Rav Elyashiv, or at least his minions also engaged in attempts to anul some conversions; eg. The view of Rav Avraham Sherman.

He also paskened that where there was a reasonable suspicion of abuse one should go directly to the authorities. Aguda twisted his words, and sadly in the last ten years many of his words were twisted and he was drip fed information by ‘Askanim’.

He didn’t write much, sadly, although I do have his Kovetz Tshuvos at home.

I don’t think he will be remembered in the same light as Reb Moshe or Reb Shlomo Zalman or Rav Waldenburg, however, If there is one thing that we can inspirationally derive from his life, it would have to be his incredible continuous learning of Torah. He could be described as a conservative Posek. Im not familiar with all his Psakim of course, but i cant recall a big noted Heter. Whether it was 16 hours a day or slightly different is immaterial. What is known is that he simply learned almost all day, and lived a humble life in a tiny apartment in Meah Shearim. It is said that he knew all four sections of shulchan aruch with all the commentaries, by heart.

He was an admirer of his shadchan, Rav Kook ז״ל and was not afraid to defend Rav Kook. See here for example.

יהי זכרו ברוך


Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

8 thoughts on “Petira of Rav Elyashiv צ״ל”

  1. it will be interesting to see to who will now become the “Posek Hador” for the Yeshivish/Litvak world.
    What chance does Reb Zalman Nechemia Goldberg have? is he tainted by having been involved with the rabbanut


    1. Reb Zalman Nechemya and others like Dayan Usher Weiss stay away from politics. I can’t see them being involved in Degel Hatorah.
      It’s pretty clear that R’ Shmuel Auerbach will take over the leadership as opposed to being the Posek of choice. He’s very right wing and will suit all those who look for that (on the surface anyway)

      I don’t think much will change. The posters will still include R Shteinman and Rav Kanievski etc


  2. Sorry this is off topic.

    You wrote in a post a while back
    “The Rav notes that in pre-war Europe there was no such concept of Daas Torah. This is a new innovation, ironically, which some, like Rav Nachum Rabinowicz have said is also ill-defined.”

    Do you have a source for the Rav’s “statement”?

    Also, please excuse my ignorance, but who is this Rabinowicz?


    1. I know I heard Rav Schachter and Rakeffet say that in some shiur I heard. It’s also mentioned in Divrei HoRav.
      The Rav never imposed his views on his Talmidim and openly discouraged it even though they were kafuf to him in no less a manner than some are to the moetzes Gedolay hatorah. If I recall correctly, the Rav gave the Hesped for Rav Chaim Ozer and said that through his character, learning etc he became Daas Torah but that is a far cry from the situation in our day!

      Rav Nachum Rabinovitch wrote a wonderful piece on Daas Torah in Hakirah. Google it, it was translated.


  3. I wasn’t privileged to learn by the Rav, but I did study at his son-in-law’s (and many say Talmid Muvhak’s) Yeshivah (Rav Aharon Lichtenstein shlita). Rav Aharon gave a shiur on Daas Torah many years ago where he discussed the distinct notions of …שאל אביך ויגדך זקנך versus לא תתור ממנו ימין ושמאל. In a nutshell, Rav Aharon’s position (which I suspect was heavily influenced by the Rav’s) was rejectionist of a dogmatic Daas Torah notion, but equally rejectionist of excessive decision making autonomy amongst the masses.

    Rav Aharon’s appraisal was dialectic but not fence sitting – it reflected an appreciation for the complexity of the issue. Hashem wants us to exercise independent thought (bechira chofshit is what delineates us from animals) yet he also blessed the world with great Torah scholars and personalities whose positions should be considered carefully when making independent meta-halachik or Hashkafik decisions. Rav Aharon did, ever so diplomatically, express grave concerns (this shiur was given many years ago so his point has proven to be prophetic) about the ability of all major Rabbanim to provide guidance to communities and individuals that live in a reality that many of those Rabbanim simply don’t understand. This is obviously the source of much of the skeptisicm in the Modern Orthodox (and increasingly in the left wing Chareidi) worlds towards Daas Torah.


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